Advisor who defrauded Canadian NHL stars back in court

Clients included Stanley Cup champions and other NHL players

Advisor who defrauded Canadian NHL stars back in court

When retired race car driver, Tommy Constantine, and financial advisor, Phillip Kenner, were convicted in a high-profile fraud case, they were sentenced to 10 and 17 years in prison respectively. The two were found guilty of scamming several National Hockey League (NHL) players, among other victims, out of millions of dollars through a series of deceptive real estate and business ventures.

Kenner, originally from Arizona, and Constantine, the founder of the Playboy Racing Team, were convicted of charges including wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy by a federal jury in Central Islip, New York, after a 10-week trial. The duo's scheme, which spanned from 2002 to 2013, managed to net them $30 million. Kenner’s clients included three high-profile Canadian players - former New York Islander Michael Peca, and two-time Stanley Cup champions Darryl Sydor and Bill Ranford. Former New York Islander and New York Ranger Bryan Berard was also a client.

Kenner appealed the 2015 conviction, and at the start of this week the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the financial advisor isn’t entitled to a new trial. The court ruled that erroneous jury instructions didn’t affect the outcome of the trial, as the case didn’t rise or fall on Kenner’s credibility.

Kenner gained access to NHL players via a college friend who had been drafted into the league. He convinced at least 13 players to invest $100,000 each in a Hawaiian real estate venture. However, instead of investing the funds as promised, Kenner and his clandestine partner Constantine siphoned off the money, causing losses amounting to $13 million.

In another ruse, the pair tricked many of the same NHL clients into investing $1.4 million in Constantine's prepaid debit card venture, Eufora, in 2008 and 2009. Instead of investing these funds, they were diverted into accounts controlled by Kenner and Constantine.

When their earlier schemes started unraveling, the deceptive pair conceived a new fraud, blaming the players' losses on a Mexican real estate developer defaulting on an undisclosed loan. They coaxed the players into providing them with $4.1 million to litigate over the losses, only to use a small portion of the money for the litigation.

The stolen money funded Kenner's luxurious lifestyle, including his mortgage on a multi-million dollar home in Arizona, a beachfront property in California, and a Mexican tequila company. Constantine used his share to maintain his image as a race car driver, buying and upgrading cars, attending races, and hiring models to accompany him.

The court ordered Kenner to forfeit his right, title, and interest in an oceanfront resort in Mexico, real property in Hawaii, and a Falcon 10 jet airplane, along with other assets, and to pay restitution. Similarly, Constantine was ordered to forfeit $8.5 million, as well as his rights to the Mexican resort, the Hawaii property, and the jet, and to pay $5.2 million in restitution.